Youth Wellbeing in Cities: Collaborative development of Wellbeing System Map

26th January 2024 –  SDG CoLab, the System Mapping Academy and OurCluj partners, with funding from Fondation Botnar, launched the first-of-its kind interactive System Map of wellbeing of the city’s young residents, developed together with over 40 local stakeholders including youth in Cluj-Napoca. This initiative is ongoing.

Click image to navigate in Kumu

Imagine the future, where wellbeing of young residents is prioritized over unlimited economic growth. Cities with local innovation ecosystems become lighthouses for transformation and young people flourish with the natural environment.

Today, we face multiple crises: not only ecological, social, economic and political, but also cultural and spiritual. This reflects a growing sense of separation from our inner selves, each other and nature.  In response, communities, cities and governments are increasingly paying attention to prioritizing societal and planetray wellbeing instead of infinite economic growth.

Over the past eight months we mapped together with the city stakeholders what influences wellbeing of youth  people in Cluj-Napoca, a vibrant multi-cultural city in Romania. This participatory system map reveals strong interdependences between varios factors that influence wellbeing of the city’s young residents. To improve their wellbeing  we cannot optimize the isolated factors or nodes, (e.g. school infrastructure), but we need to improve the relationships between these factors (e.g. support for teachers, attitude of parents towards schools, learning opportunities outside schools).  Wellbeing is relational.

About Wellbeing System Map

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SDG Colab, Geneva, Switzerland


Participatory development of the Wellbeing Systems Map in Cluj-Napoca, an intermediary city in Transylvania, Romania. The mapping process was guided by SDG Colab and System Mapping Academy, and a core team of local partners (UBB School of Public Health, DASM, Pont Group, Wello and Rural Senses). It culminated in a city stakeholder workshop in August 2023 (online) with over 40 local actors, followed two months later by a presentation and discussion at the 5th OurCluj Meetup in October 2023, cohosted by the Cluj Education Cluster. This collaborative process continues to with focus on leverage points and codesign of systemic intervention.

Wellbeing System Map discussion at OurCluj Meetup in October 2023

City stakeholder workshop in August 2023 (online)

About SDG Colab

SDG Colab is a non-profit collaboratory focused on design and research of new collaborative social arrangements that prioritize wellbeing of people and the planet over unlimited economic growth. Based in Geneva, Switzerland and engaged globally, it was founded by Barbara Bulc to reimagine values and relationships, essential to shift the current economic paradigm. SDG Colab stewards OurCluj, a values-based urban living lab, and a novel aproach to urban innovation focused on youth wellbeing. 

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About System Mapping Academy

System Mapping Academy combines powers of systems thinking and design to provide clarity on complex interrelated issues. It applies system mapping and visualizations, and works collaboratively with stakeholders around the world to make systems thinking more approachable. Founded by Fabian Gampp and Gian Wieck in Berlin, the System Mapping Academy has developed System Mapping Toolkit on Miro to visualize and tackle complex challenges.

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OurCluj Contributors

In a collaborative development of the Wellbeing System Map, SDG Colab (Barbara Bulc, Fabian Schlag, Tibor Remskar) and System Mapping Academy (Fabian Gampp, Gian Wieck) worked together with a team of local partners, coordinated by Babes-Bolyai University School of Public Health as part of  the LEAP 2.0 study development (Marius I. Ungeranu, Simona Ciotlaus, Amalia Spinu and Stefan-Augustin Lazar) with the Directorat for Social and Medical Assistance of the Cluj-Napoca Municipality (Brindusa Grigoras), Pont Group (Ágnes Balázsi-Pál, András Farkas), Wello Association (Cristina Rogoz, Dumitru Petreus), and Rural Senses (Raluca Igret).

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Participants in the City Stakeholder Workshop

The City Stakeholder Workshop to develop the Wellbeing Systems Map engaged over 40 participants from public, private, civic and academic organizations across generations from Cluj-Napoca.  We are grateful to all contributors for their time and insights. Thank you to:  Bogdan Stanciu, ADI ZMC; Jasmina Cloșca, Lorand Maxim, Casa Tranzit; Mihaela Baciu, Daria Cifudean, David Ciceu Cuc, Raul Tarko, CJE; Miruna Amza, Bogdan Teodorescu, Miruna Toma, Rarita Zbranca, Cluj Cultural Centre (Learning QUB); Adela Bernad, Cluj IT Transylvania Cluster; Diana Apan, Cluj City Hall; Alexandra Bratosin,Tudor Ogner, Marc Paul, Patrick Rojan, Bianca Tantau, FTC (Cluj Youth Mapping); Vlad Cupsa, Gabriel Aldea-Turcu, KOMITI Media; Kseniia Shyriaieva, Karoline Tolstrup Sørensen, Patrir; Krassimir Stavrev, Svetla Todorova, Studio PUNKT (Participatory Visual Branding); Radu Meza, Andrea Mogos, UBB, FSPAC (Youth Data Collaborative); Otilia Calfa, BEING Romania; Norbert Petrovici, UBB Interdisciplinary Data Science Center; Miki Braniste, UBB, Faculty of Theater and Film; Karoline Tolstrup, PATRIR; Péter László, UBB / PONT Group (Cluj Youth Mapping); Cristina Apetrei, Leuphana University; Anca Goron, Youth Data Collaborative.

For more information, visit: www.ourcluj.